Rallying business owners, neighbors demand city leaders do more to remove crime

SEATTLE - -After Wednesday’s deadly shooting rampage, law enforcement has now saturated the city core.

Dozens rallied at Westlake Park Friday to demand city leaders make permanent changes to crack down on crime.

Third Avenue now looks like a police precinct. Between the cops in cruisers and on bikes, they’re really hard to miss.

But some who live and work down here say they have seen efforts like this come and go – they now want promises to remove the criminal element permanently.

A small memorial grows along Third Avenue where gang violence left its deadly mark.

“It didn’t shock me because that block is notorious,” said neighbor Kathleen O’Connor.

Just down the block on Fifth Avenue on Friday, there was a loud scuffle between security and a suspected shoplifter.

“I could see there’s some commotion and I started waving at the police to come down here,” said witness Ryan Cramer.

Despite law enforcement being around nearly every corner, loss prevention employees struggled to hold onto their property before police could intervene.

“We’ve had a criminal ecosystem that for too long has persisted in the heard of downtown,” said Jon Scholes from the Downtown Seattle Association. “It’s the worst kept secret in Seattle.”

Inside Westlake Park is where the association held a rally demanding city leaders finally get tough on street crime.

“This criminal activity and the lawlessness in our streets,” said Sabrina Villanueva. “It’s not acceptable and we won’t accept it anymore.”

“Now there’s a mass shooting a couple blocks away from our school,” said student Sarah Rosoff. “That’s scary.”

Rosoff and some of her fellow students joined the rally – but with their own message: The scourge of gun violence is too close for comfort.

“Enough is enough,” said Rosoff. “This has happened over and over again and now it’s here.”

The DSA plans to invite more stakeholders to attend the Seattle City Council’s Public Safety Committee hearing this coming Tuesday morning at city hall.